So how does this work in practice? Serve treats regularly, or as often as you eat them yourself. This can be at dessert, or even with meals. By including a cookie alongside your dinner casserole, your child learns that dessert isn’t all that exciting.
Now this doesn’t mean you should keep junk food on the counter or allow a candy free-for-all. We’re simply talking about taking the mystique away from unhealthy foods by normalizing them as part of an overall healthy diet. You’re still in charge here, and you set the boundaries for when and where sweets and treats will be allowed.
You also don’t have to bring food into the house that isn’t part of your family’s diet. For example, if you don’t drink soda, you don’t have to keep it on hand for the purpose of exposure—they’ll get enough of that in the real world!
Another great option is to include your child in the labor of love involved in making homemade desserts. This removes the idea that sweets only come in crinkly packages, and demonstrates how treats can be part of a healthy diet.
You can also have basic nutrition conversations with your kids, to help them understand why you eat whole foods most of the time. Focus on the positives of good nutrition, like fueling their bodies for play, rather than on the negatives of less healthy foods.